Mesothelioma Overview

Mesothelioma is a rare but serious form of cancer. It affects the outer lining (mesothelial cells) that wraps body organs (such as the heart, lungs, stomach and intestines) as well as the inner body wall. Mesothelioma is frequently caused by asbestos exposure; although the majority of people exposed do not develop mesothelioma. However, when the disease does develop, typically there is a 30-40 year period between exposure and disease.

The Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has pioneered mesothelioma care and research over the last two decades. Every year, hundreds of newly diagnosed patients come to BWH for consultation on optimal therapy for mesothelioma. Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a founding member of the International Mesothelioma Program, the largest mesothelioma program in the world, distinguished for patient care and research.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s board certified thoracic surgeons have sub-specialty training and years of experience in mesothelioma, a disease that can be challenging to diagnose. We have expertise in the most advanced diagnostic procedures including cervical mediastinoscopy. Our surgeons perform surgical procedures such as pleurectomy and pneumonectomy using minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic-assisted technology.

As the surgical team for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), we are part of an exceptional partnership between two world-class medical centers—Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. All of our surgeons are faculty at Harvard Medical School and many are physician-researchers at the forefront of new therapies and cures—advancing their studies from laboratory to direct patient care.

We collaborate with clinicians throughout BWH and communicate openly with patients and families to create patient-focused care plans that consider individual needs. Along with a supportive clinical and administrative staff, we work as one cohesive team to provide the best possible care for each patient. Thoracic surgery services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital main campus, at Milford Regional Medical Center in Milford, and in Weymouth at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital.

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